Influence of Storm Damage on the Runoff Generation in two Sub-Catchments of the Sperbelgraben, Swiss Emmental

Badoux, Alexandre; Jeisy, Michel; Kienholz, Hans; Lüscher, Peter; Weingartner, Rolf; Witzig, Jonas; Hegg, Christoph (2006). Influence of Storm Damage on the Runoff Generation in two Sub-Catchments of the Sperbelgraben, Swiss Emmental. European journal of forest research, 125(1), pp. 27-41. Springer 10.1007/s10342-005-0102-6

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The project ‘‘Lothar and Mountain Torrents’’ investigates the effect of storm-originated deforestation on the hydrology on three scales within the Sperbelgraben catchment (Swiss Prealps). This article focuses on runoff measurements during a 3-year period in two differently affected sub-catchments (�2 ha) and on 2-year surface runoff measurements on smaller plots (50–110 m2). The link between these two scales and the results of irrigation experiments on 1 m2 areas are interpreted using a detailed map of forest site types describing soil and vegetation characteristics. Plot results show that surface runoff is generated in two distinct ways. On the one hand, high amounts of saturation overland flow were observed on wet areas of gleyic soils. On the other hand, hardly any surface runoff was measured on Cambisols, with the exception of a short hydrophobic reaction at the beginning of storms occurring on areas with a thick organic litter layer (temporary Hortonian overland flow). On the long term, the lightly damaged sub-catchment (SC1) yields less runoff than the highly damaged one (SC2). This is confirmed when direct runoff volumes during flood events are considered. However, short and intensive showers surprisingly lead to higher discharge peaks in SC1. This occurrence is explained by different geomorphologic characteristics (mainly the channel density) and the spatial distribution of the moist to wet forest site types. Effects of deforestation and local soil compaction due to forest clearing remain small on both plot and subcatchment scale.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Hydrology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Kienholz, Hans, Lüscher, Peter, Weingartner, Rolf, Hegg, Christoph


900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Deborah Nathalie Jutzi

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2019 16:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:31

Publisher DOI:





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